Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Greatest Thing That Ever Came To Kansas

This poem by James Dickey destroyed me (still does) when I first read it 10 or so years ago. It details the awful falling of a stewardess who is accidentally sucked out the door of an airplane somewhere over the midwest. Dickey once said this about the stewardess in Falling:

"Falling" is a record of the way she feels as she falls; panic at first and then a kind of goddess-like invulnerability. She discovers that the human body can actually fly a little bit. She tries to find water to fall into, but in the end she can’t and falls into a cornfield and dies there. She undresses on the way down, because since she’s going to die she wants to die, as she says, "beyond explanation." She would rather be found naked in a cornfield than in an airline uniform. So she takes off everything, is clean, purely desirable, purely woman, and dies in that way. I also tried to think of the mystical possibility there might be for farmers in that vicinity, under those conditions.

It's rather long but worth your time, especially the poems end, which is perfect.

No comments: